Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle breaks down the numbers involved, pointing to the Texans’ need to beat down Antonio Smith’s $9.5 million salary cap number.
Antonio is due to make $6 million in base salary this year, giving them an easy enough platform from which to convert the bulk to signing bonus and prorate and save.
But while Justin’s the better player of the two, there are two mitigating factors in creating a new deal for Antonio that come into play. One is that Antonio’s two years younger, and he also has an agent who has done a few deals in his day (Justin Smith negotiated his own contract extension).
The Texans have just $2.8 million in salary cap space at the moment, have three draft picks to sign, and would like to do new deals for linebacker Brian Cushing and nose tackle Earl Mitchell, whose contracts expire after this season.
Extending Antonio Smith makes sense, but they can’t assume it will be as simple as the deal the 49ers just did.